In the immediate aftermath of the NBA’s decision to suspend operations in March after Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert tested positive for the novel coronavirus, one of the main storylines to emerge centered on the alleged friction between the two-time Defensive Player of the Year and his teammate, Donovan Mitchell, who tested positive for the virus just days later. Now, it appears that both players are back on the same page and ready to help the Jazz in their championship quest once the 2019-20 season resumes in Orlando, Florida.
Citing Thursday’s edition of Tony Jones’ column for The Athletic, ClutchPoints wrote that Gobert and Mitchell are currently “on good terms,” thus giving Jazz fans little to worry about when it comes to team chemistry. This comes three months after Mitchell, following his COVID-19 diagnosis, was reportedly unhappy with Gobert, especially since the Frenchman allegedly touched reporters’ microphones and his teammates’ belongings shortly before his own diagnosis was made public.
Similarly, Jazz head coach Quin Snyder commented on the issues between Mitchell and Gobert earlier this week, telling The Salt Lake Tribune that the two stars’ situation was unprecedented, as they were the first two NBA players to be diagnosed with COVID-19 and also happened to be teammates. He stressed that the duo is now in “good shape,” with both men just as excited as the rest of the team to get back on the court.
Is the relationship between Rudy Gobert and Donovan Mitchell – which took a hit after Gobert's initial actions around COVID – improving? Gobert shares that the two have begun talking again. pic.twitter.com/joKHqonnyj
— Rachel Nichols (@Rachel__Nichols) April 13, 2020
Jones’ update on Mitchell and Gobert’s relationship as teammates comes slightly more than a month after Jazz executive vice president of basketball operations Dennis Lindsey spoke to ESPN and updated the outlet about the situation. At that time, he said that the two players were “ready to put [their dispute] behind them” and conduct themselves in a professional manner. However, that didn’t stop rumors from swirling regarding the possibility of either player getting traded, with one such report hinting that Utah would likely keep Mitchell and trade Gobert if their feud doesn’t get resolved before the 2020 offseason.
Prior to the suspension of the 2019-20 season, the Jazz had posted a 41-23 record, putting them at fourth in the Western Conference behind the Los Angeles Lakers, Los Angeles Clippers, and Denver Nuggets. This record was more than enough to help Utah qualify for the final eight games of the 2019-20 regular season, which is expected to resume in Orlando, Florida, on July 31, with 22 of the NBA’s 30 teams taking part in the restart.
The 23-year-old Mitchell, who was fresh off his first All-Star Game appearance, is averaging a team-leading 24.2 points, 4.4 rebounds, and 4.2 assists. Gobert, meanwhile, has produced 15.1 points, 13.7 rebounds, and two blocks per game and is shooting at a 69.8 percent clip from the field, per Basketball-Reference.